What is an African Film?

What is an African film? That's what the four African filmmakers, Naima Mohamud, Christopher Wessels, David "Tosh" Gitonga and Vicensia Shule, were talking about at HAFF panel discussion on Thursday. It was interesting to hear their views on the topic that is all but easy to define.

For me African film can be anything that shows how the life is in various parts of Africa. African itself is a wide term that can mean almost anything depending on the place, time and the person we're talking about.

It's maybe easier to think about it, when I first think what is European or what is Nordic or Finnish. In Finland, I'm just me. In Sweden, I become that funny Finn who speaks "Moomin Svenska". In Spain, I'm Nordic (or Scandinavian but as we know rest of the Scandinavia doesn't think Finns are Scandinavians). In Nigeria, I'm European, or just oyibo, meaning white.

When I take pictures, I'm not taking "Finnish pictures", but someone else might define my style "Finnish" or call me a "Finnish photographer". So, what someone is, depend not only on himself or herself but on the context where he or she is. The same with the films. I don't think these filmmakers decided to make African films, their films just happened to tell something about the continent because of the topic or because of the filmmakers' background. Or what do you think?


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